Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 188 - Can you hear the corn growing at night?

There's a saying that you can hear corn growing at night.  As I drove through the area in which my mother lived, I couldn't believe that the corn was over six feet tall.  The saying goes, "The corn should be at least knee high by the Fourth of July."  And here it was much more than that.  The rain had really helped the corn grow and it looked like a great crop this year.  Growing so fast, I had heard that if the conditions are right that consist of a hot humid day and a good rain at night, you could hear the corn growing at night because it was growing so fast.  I'm not sure it's true so I thought I'd Google it and check out.  The right thing to do...Trust AND Verify!

And this is what I found:  My grandfather, who has grown corn his whole life, says that that is just a myth. He says the myth came from people who would sit out in cornfields at night, the silent wind on the leaves made it sound like the stalks were growing. But you really can't hear it.

So it is not true.  But it sure does make for a good story.  But then my boyfriend's uncle wrote his weekly column and I found it funny that he mentioned this too!  His column was too good to not pass on so I'm printing it here.  Carol Vertrees is in his nineties and still writing.  His words are gems to an anniversary ring, they commemorate the time and spirit of life. Enjoy!


Vertrees   july 17
     The stillness sounds familiar.  Standing there in the  dewy farm yard watching the irrepressible sun creep over the horizon, I am caught in a wonderful time warp.
     Then I hear a dove cooing.  And I remember, heart-deep in a stream of memories, one of my favorite choir numbers:  “Morning Has Come.” The anthem has a deeper theological, eternal message, but here in the peaceful beginning of a new day, there is a message that touches me: a rural, verdant welcoming:  I am home again.
   It may be my imagination, but in that stillness, I believe that I can hear the corn growing -- it is impatient.  The fields of green seem to be alive.
  Yes, we can go home again.  There are few folks around who remember me.  Time, the relentless, unshakable master of us all, has taken most of my contemporaries.  But my family name is still remembered in this rural enclave. So I remain connected, and I am glad.
   Every time we go home, we see different pictures.  Surprises.  I remember that art experts can lift a painting and find others underneath.  That’s how it is when we go home.  We keep peeling away on the journey to our beginning and see pieces of life that have been painted over by time and events.   We need these visits to the private museum of art that traces our trip through life. In the stillness of our mental viewing, we can see ourselves, part of the artwork.
    Yes, the pictures have been changed by the march of time.  The little church and the country school are gone.  For years, they were on the stage, playing their roles.  And then, the final cue came and they are gone, but I can see it all again in my mental re-runs.
    The creek that runs past where I used to live seems awfully small -- it seems to shrink every time I go home.  But I remember that after big rains the creek muddied up and we caught catfish -- we called them yellow-bellies. That stream really is smaller, but often it is our perspectives that change as the distance between now and then stretches out.
     We stay overnight in my late brother’s home -- it is always ready for clan visitors who want to come back.  My niece lives close by, down a path through a corn field and she keeps the house in the welcoming mode.  It touches me.  Her down-home brunch was delightful. The connection remains strong.
    Remembering is open for all of us.  We need it. Remembering is not maudlin -- it is medicinal, a tonic for the soul.  If we cannot go home physically, we can travel the memory trail and find something that makes the heart beat faster. 
    In a little nearby town called Newberry the bridge to home crosses a fork of White River, usually a friendly, casual stream that seems to meander southward.  It was that way years ago on a Sunday afternoon when some of us kids from church gathered by the river where the preacher was waiting to baptize us.  He dunked us, one by one. I remember that.
   Later, I told some friends that I was afraid the preacher would hold my head under water too long. It was my kid way of dealing with the meaning of  an event that I did not really comprehend.
  On the way back from our visit, we cross the river and I  remember the dunking. I imagine that my hair is still wet.  I smile and feel renewed.  I have been back home again.

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